Brothers setting sail at MMA

June 22, 2013


What’s good for one Titus is good for another, right?

That’s the way Tyler Titus, a recent graduate of Granbury High, sees his college decision.

Older brother Hunter has already spent a year at the U.S. Merchant Marines Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. He gave his younger sibling a glowing report of his experience there, including playing on a successful baseball team.

“He can bail me out of trouble when I get there,” said Tyler with a grin. “He knows all the rules. He’s already broken them all.”

Tyler will join his brother, indeed, but not right away. Because the MMA is doing some campus remodeling, the amount of freshmen being admitted in the fall is reduced. Tyler will spend a year at New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M.

He will play baseball there, along with beginning the same studies he will continue at MMA. Then, he will join Hunter in Kings Point.

Tyler skipped playing baseball his junior season at Granbury High, but returned this season to help the Pirates enjoy their best year since 2009. They finished 17-14 and advanced to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Tyler was named second-team All-District 7-4A as an outfielder, along with earning academic all-district and Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Academic All-State honors.

Hunter, after opting not to play as a senior at GHS, returned to baseball this past spring with MMA. Once he found his way into the lineup, he played in 15 games for the Mariners (20-17) and batted .421 (8-for-19). His hits included three doubles, and he drove in eight runs, also scoring seven.

“The academy brought me back to baseball,” said Tyler. “I talked to my brother, and we agreed to both give the sport another chance. It will be great when we are able to play together again.”

But Tyler’s reasons for choosing to attend MMA are more than baseball and his brother. Like Hunter, he was also driven by his love of the water.

“Tyler has been a fish since Day 1,” said Don Titus, their father. “Of all four kids, he’s the most water-oriented.”

Tyler also swam for GHS his junior season and spent several years growing up as a member of the SEALS swim team.

“I have always liked the ocean. I would love to live on the ocean,” said Tyler, adding that he would also consider being on the swim team at NMMI and MMA.

Once graduated from MMA, students have the option of committing five years to the military. They can also drive ships, whereas they must serve 150 days each year on a U.S. flag carrier.

MMA charges no tuition, and these commitments are how students pay for their education.

Tyler said his ultimate goal is to be a harbor pilot. It’s the premier position for a graduate of the MMA.

“Tug boats all work for the harbor pilot,” said Don. “It’s a very high level responsibility. Docking and leaving port are the two biggest responsibilities. Also, the pay is astronomical, and you sleep in your own bed instead of always traveling.”

While at the MMA, students are required to be at sea for two sessions. The first is four months and the second is eight months.

Hunter will report to New Orleans late next week, later transferring to Beaumont, on to Jacksonville, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; Baltimore and on through Suez Canal to the Middle East.

His second stint at sea will begin at the end of the 2014 baseball season.

“I want to go to a lot of cool places. I wouldn’t mind going to France, England, Australia,” said Tyler.

“As long as they have a beach.”

Tyler leaves in August for Roswell. But getting into NMMI and MMA wasn’t as easy as simply choosing to go there.

Prospective students must have a nomination from a member of Congress (his came from Kay Bailey Hutchison), consistently strong grades, pass a physical readiness test, have good standardized testing scores and have a good community service record.

Even then, they must make it into an elite group. In Tyler’s case, only 205 were admitted.

“I’ve been told they have the largest rejection list in the nation,” said Don.

Tyler and Hunter have two younger siblings. Calvin will be a freshman in the fall and also plays baseball. Sister Zoe is an eighth-grader at Acton Middle School and plays volleyball and basketball, along with running track.

And yes, they are both smart, so father Don sees bright futures for each of them as well.

“Jennifer (his wife) and I ask each other what did we do to deserve this?” he said, chuckling.

“But it sure makes us proud.”

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